The Park City Museum is a lively nonprofit organization dedicated to Preserving, Protecting and Promoting Park City's rich history and culturally significant sites. Our solid 40-year history as one of Utah's most popular and successful cultural anchors has resulted in numerous awards, accolades and regular inclusion in national and international travel guides as a Top Ten Park City attraction.
Our mission is to preserve, protect, and promote Park City's history and heritage.
The purpose of the Park City Museum is to:
- Professionally interpret Park City and regional western history through engaging exhibitions and lively educational events;
- Actively research and record the history of Park City and its environs; and
- Promote and advocate the preservation of Park City’s important history and historic sites.
Originally established in 1981 as the Park City Historical Society with just fifteen dedicated members, the Museum's beginnings were the result of two far-sighted locals, Tina Lewis and Patricia Smith, who persuaded the City to fund a small local historical exhibit in the old City Hall on Main Street for the town's Centennial Celebration in 1984. It was a great success! The Historical Society took over operations of the exhibit, remaining open as the Park City Museum.
During the 2002 Winter Olympics, the growing popularity of heritage tourism and historic destination travel was evident with over 25,000 tourists visiting our small Museum during those 10 days. After the Olympics the Park City Museum Board of Trustees recognized the need to grow in order to better present Park City's fascinating history in a more comprehensive and professional showcase. In 2009 we completed a successful $8.9 million three-year restoration and expansion project transforming the historic building into a remarkable regional history center. It is one of Park City's most popular attractions with more than 130,000 visitors walking through our doors annually. Our visitors repeatedly are surprised at the caliber of the exhibits and constantly express their enthusiasm.
In 2017 the Park City Museum opened the doors of its second large project, the new $3 million Education & Collections Center in Prospector Square. This new facility features a large gathering space which has allowed us to broaden our popular lecture series and other special events that were severely limited space-wise at our Main Street location. Just as importantly, the new building provides a large, environmentally controlled storage area for our treasured historical items and photos that are not currently on display.
Completing our organizations four entities are our ownership of the historic Glenwood Cemetery, a lovely five-acre final resting place for some of Park City's first families and our on-going Preservation project Friends of Park City Ski Mining History which is restoring a number of the area's old mining buildings that represent the first chapters of our Park City story.
But the work isn't done at the Park City Museum! Thanks to an incredible volunteer base, to a hands-on Board of Trustees, to an enthusiastic group of supportive residents and visitors we continue to grow. We strive to create first-class exhibitions, to provide professional research tools, to deliver engaging educational programs for both adults and children, and to advocate for professional preservation of our artifacts and our historic buildings and sites for today's and future generations to enjoy.
About the Historic City Hall
The Museum is housed partly inside the historic City Hall which was completed at a cost of $6,400 in 1885, one year after Park City was incorporated as a city. The 1880s were a time of great growth and prosperity and many new buildings were erected on Main Street during this time. The City Hall also housed the Police and Fire Departments and the Territorial Jail. Then in 1898 the Great Fire raged down Main Street destroying almost everything in its path leaving only the front facade, partial side walls and the Territorial Jail standing. But hardy Parkites started rebuilding immediately with many of those new building still standing today and recognized on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to its civic roots, the building has also been home to the Park City Public Library for many years, retail, offices and even a liquor store. When the Museum expanded, we added over 6,000 square feet onto the back of the historic structure.
In 1901 the Whistle Tower was built to warn citizens and the volunteer firemen of fire in the area. The bell was replaced by an electric siren that required testing every day. Park City chose 10pm and soon the test siren evolved into a curfew for the town's youngsters. The siren still faithfully sounds at 10 pm to this day.